Founder of Celltel Limited, now Kasapa Telecom Limited, Prince Kofi Kludjeson, has said he is in the process of taking over the dying company, rebranding it to Celltel and reviving it to take its place of pride in Ghana’s telecom industry.
He was speaking on KofiTV, following a report by Adom News that the current operators of Kasapa Telecom under the brand name Expresso, Sudan Telecom (Sudatel), have announced that they owe zero per cent shares in the company.
Sudatel stated clearly on page nine of its 2016 Third Quarter Financial Report dated September 2016, and published November 2016 on its website that in 2015 its shares in Kasapa Telecoms was 82%, but shares held in 2016 was 0%.The company had earlier reported that it sold 18% shares to an unknown buyer for $5million under a shares purchase agreement (SPA) in 2013, and the remaining 82 per cent shares had been transferred to an escrow agent pending the fulfillment of the conditions set out in the SPA for onward transfer to the mystery buyer.
But now the firm is reporting zero per cent shares, failing, however, to state if the mystery buyer had paid for the remaining 82% shares – and how much was paid.
However, Prince Kofi Kludjeson said his checks showed that the company had not been sold to anyone but the 0% shares reported by Sudatel was just a strategy for them (Sudatel) to walk away for the “illegality” they had engaged in since July 2008.
“The only entity we know made an attempt to buy the company was the Jospong Group of Companies but I personally met Dr. Joseph Agyepong and he assured me he had backed out of the deal,” he said.
He explained that there are no records at National Communications Authority (NCA) to show Sudatel owns Kasapa Telecom and there are no records at the Registrar General’s Department to show there is any company called Sudatel or Expresso in Ghana.
Without mentioning any names, he said “this is all one big illegality some people here and abroad connived to engage in but all that is coming to an end because now the company is registered in its original name which is Celltel Limited and I am still the owner.”
Kofi Kludjeson observed that since people conspired and used foul means to take the company away from him, things have not been well with them because “you cannot deny a company of its vision bearer and think the company will survive.”
“I am not surprised at what is happening to Kasapa because companies thrive, first and foremost, on the spirit of the vision bearer before the right principles will work; but when the spirit of the founder is taken out of the company, the company dies a slow death,” he maintains.
Indeed, since Sudatel took over the company, the Sudanese firm has not been able to recapitalize the company, and as a result, the company has declined into insignificance over the past nine years and that has been characterized by the frequent change of Managing Directors, consistent monthly decline in customers, huge and numerous debts and months of unpaid salaries.
Meanwhile, the company’s long line of creditors, including real estate owners, devices dealers, vendors, utility service providers and others have been chasing the company for debts.
The sole CDMA player also continues to lose hold of its stake in the market as customers continue to abandon the network by the day due to bad service. As of April 2017, it subscriber level had declined to a paltry 23,264, from about 400,000 at the time Sudatel took over.
Recently, recharge card retailers likened Expresso Ghana to the embattled microfinance company DKM, because the retailers said they invested heavily into Expresso products and now it has become bad debts for them because no one is buying those products and Expresso has also refused to take them back and refund their moneys.
But Kludjeson said all that is about to change because he has engaged a number of renowned international partners and signed agreements that will see a rebranding of Kasapa/Expresso back to Celltel and a quick revival of the company beginning from next year.
“We have engaged Foxcom of Apple devices fame as our device partner; Cisco will be our network partner, Hughes will provide nationwide satellite network, Google will provide fibre and National Information Technology Agency (NITA) will host our data centre,” he said.
He noted that the new Celltel will still operate the 028 prefix and use the affordable device strategy to spread prepaid affordable wifi across the country, beginning with district assemblies, government agencies and some private organizations, like the media, whose workers work regularly with handheld devices and data.We have signed agreements to build wifi networks in areas where there are schools (universities) and offices where data usage is key to their work and daily lives.
“The plan is to sign on at least one million people in the first year and give them all Celltel and KQ (Kludjeson Quality) branded affordable devices, which they will pay for in monthly installments for three years then they get to own the devices, but keep honoring the service contract,” he said.
Regarding the liabilities of Kasapa Telecoms, Kludjeson said he has engaged a transactional advisor to assist on how to settle the workers and also deal with the liabilities of the company to clear their path for the new page.
He, however, stated that there is no plan to lay any worker off, but their salary arrears will be paid and they will be engaged to apply their skills at running the network which is now backed by the spirit of the vision bearer.